Answers to questions on testing students for COVID-19
Q: When might Schiffert recommend someone NOT be tested for COVID-19?
A: If a student contacts Schiffert, or any other health care provider because they think they have an exposure, a test will not be scheduled until 3-5 days have passed from the presumed exposure to maximize result effectiveness. Fully vaccinated individuals should make an appointment if they have a known exposure to COVID-19. Schiffert follows CDC guidelines for all testing procedures. We also do not recommend testing for 90 days after a positive test, as test results will likely remain positive (for example, students should not be able to schedule a test with Schiffert in hopes of getting a negative to test out of isolation or quarantine or to participate in other activities if they have had a positive test in the past 90 days).
Q: Is the testing free?
A: Any students paying the university health fee may receive a COVID test from Schiffert Health Center or at the Self-Testing sites for free. Find additional testing information on the Ready site.
Q: What should I do if I have symptoms or generally feel sick?
A: Students who are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 or who otherwise feel sick should call Schiffert (540-231-6444) and request a medical appointment. Explain your symptoms when you call, and you will be given an appointment time. That appointment time should be within 24 hours of your call. Please do not request a medical appointment if you are not symptomatic or have a known exposure, as it is critical that medical staff at Schiffert see students with symptoms or exposures as soon as possible for their well-being and the well-being of the community.
If you test positive and live on campus, you will be asked to isolate/quarantine at your permanent address or enact your COVID-19 self-care plan for the duration of the quarantine or isolation period. You will not be allowed to isolate or quarantine on campus this fall. If you have symptoms and live off campus, you should self-quarantine as directed by Schiffert. Results typically take two to three days to receive and will be communicated either by phone call or by secure electronic notification.
Q: What should I do if I have been called by the Virginia Department of Health and told I have been contact traced?
A: Students who have been contact traced to a positive or potential positive COVID-19 case but do not have symptoms should call Schiffert (540-231-6444) and mention that you have been told by a Virginia Department of Health representative that you need a test due to contact tracing. You will need to wait 3-5 days from your exposure date to be tested per CDC guidelines, but you should call immediately to schedule your appointment. These appointments must be scheduled at least 48 hours in advance of your test date. Please share your exposure date when you call so your test can be scheduled appropriately.
If you have been contact traced and live on campus, you will be asked to quarantine at your permanent address or to enact your COVID-19 self-care plan for the duration of the quarantine or isolation period. Fully vaccinated students without symptoms do not need to quarantine, but should continue to monitor themselves for symptoms and schedule a test after 3-5 days as recommended by the CDC. If you have been contact traced and live off campus, you should self-quarantine as directed by Schiffert. Results typically take 2 to 3 days to receive and will be communicated either by phone call or by secure electronic notification.
Q: What should I do if I believe I may have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19?
A: If you are fully vaccinated, you should stay away from others, wear a mask indoors, and be tested 3-5 days after exposure as recommended by the CDC. Students not fully vaccinated, who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 by being around them for more than 15 minutes, closer than 6 feet, regardless of whether the person was wearing a mask or not, can obtain a test at Schiffert or at one of the on-campus Self-Testing sites if they have no symptoms.
Any exposed student, who begins experiencing symptoms should call Schiffert (540) 231-6444 to request a test. Please share that you believe you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and would like a test. You will need to wait 3-5 days from your exposure date to be tested per CDC guidelines, but you may call once you believe you have been exposed to schedule your appointment. These appointments must be scheduled at least one day in advance of your test date. They cannot be scheduled for the day you call.
If you are not fully vaccinated, have been exposed to COVID-19, and live on campus, you will be asked to quarantine at your permanent address or to enact your COVID-19 self-care plan for the duration of the quarantine or isolation period. If you are not fully vaccinated, have been exposed, and live off campus, you should self-quarantine as directed by Schiffert. Results typically take 2 to 3 days to receive and will be communicated either by phone call or by secure electronic notification.
Q: What happens if a student tests positive?
A: On-campus students who test positive for the virus will be asked to return to their permanent address and isolate for 10 days or to enact your COVID-19 self-care plan. Decisions on isolation and quarantining after a positive test will be determined by health professionals with the Virginia Department of Health and Schiffert Health Center. The Dean of Students office will work with all students who live on or off campus that test positive to help them as appropriate.
Q: Will positive tests be reported?
A: Any individuals identified by Virginia Tech as testing positive for COVID-19 will be reported to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) in accordance with applicable law and Board of Health Regulations for Disease Reporting and Control. As Virginia Tech becomes aware of individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, SHC or occupational health staff from the Environmental Health and Safety office (EHS) will notify the VDH to coordinate contact-tracing and provide additional information as requested.
Q: Is testing required for students living off campus?
A: Testing is not required for students living off campus, but off-campus students who are not fully vaccinated or are at-risk – those who believe or know they have been exposed to the virus, recently traveled domestically or internationally, or have symptoms or other indications of exposure – should contact Schiffert Health Center to determine whether they should be tested.
Q: Can I test out of isolation?
A: You cannot test out of isolation, as the time it would take to do so is typically as long as or longer than the isolation period. All decisions about when a student may leave isolation are handled by Schiffert and/or the Virginia Department of Health.
Q: Can I test out of quarantine?
A: No, you must complete the full quarantine period as it is possible to get a false negative during this time. However, in accordance with the CDC the Virginia Department of Health allows for a shortened 10-day quarantine for students who meet the following criteria:
- no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring and
- the student has a negative test on or after day 8 of quarantine
Please note, if a student in quarantine develops symptoms or tests positive, then your status changes to isolation instead of quarantine, and you must instead complete the 10-day isolation period from your symptom start date or date of test.
Q: What if my roommate tests positive for COVID?
A: If your roommate or any close contact is a probable or confirmed case, you will need to schedule a test 3 -5 days after exposure and stay away from others until getting your results. If your results are negative, you will not need to quarantine.
All students who have been exposed to a roommate who tests positive should monitor their symptoms for a full 14 days, regardless if they are instructed to quarantine or not.
Q: If my isolation time is complete, do I need to get a negative test to get out of isolation or return to class?
A: No, you do not need to get another test. In fact, unless you develop additional symptoms that cannot be attributed to anything else, you should not be retested for 90 days.
Q: How will the university handle education and enforcement of student behavior?
A: We expect and believe that our students will abide by our Community Wellness Commitment and prioritize caring for the health and safety of others. A student’s failure to follow Virginia and university guidelines related to health precautions may violate relevant policies in the Student Code of Conduct. The webpage on Student Conduct’s Education and Enforcement Strategies for Addressing Student Behavior On Campus outlines how the university will address COVID-19-related problems.
- VT News article: Virginia Tech outlines expanded plan for student testing
- VT’s COVID-19 Testing, Tracing, and Case Management plan
- The President’s Town Hall: President Sands and university leadership discuss COVID-19 testing and tracing
- Definitions related to COVID-19
Find additional resources from Virginia Tech at vt.edu/ready.